Monday, December 12, 2011

21 years ago today: December 12, 1990

Daddy wrote me one letter after I left for college in Maryland. It was the first time I'd been so far from the family on my own for more than a weekend away. It's a precious letter, which I'll keep for rereading for the rest of my life. In it, Daddy wrote how quiet the household was without me and how, when he arrived home from his night job--and i wasn't there doing my homework or up to greet him--that is when he missed me most of all.

There are many many things that could be written about Daddy: what i have heard about his life before my birth and what i remember about him from his years as my father. Those complete and detailed accounts will come in time. For today, suffice to say: he was an amazing man and father, husband and sibling. He left us way too soon, way too young.

On December 12th, 1981--on Virgen de Guadalupe Day--he was overtaken by a brain tumor that had probably been a sinister invader growing since before i'd left for my first semester at college. The next day, December 13th, i received a fateful call from Texas that Daddy was going to have emergency surgery to remove the just-detected tumor, but not soon enough to save the vision in his left eye. Things went on a sometimes-nightmarish freefall from there for Daddy. (He was diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes and eventually lost complete eyesight in his right eye, becoming completely blind.)

These changes affected the entire family, of course, and imposed hardships too painful to detail even decades after their occurrence. But i must mention that the Virgen de Guadalupe has figured quite significantly in our family as well. It was on her celebration day (December 12th, 1981) that Daddy was diagnosed to have the brain tumor. It was on Virgen de Guadalupe day that he passed quietly away (December 12th, 1990) after almost ten long years of illness and neglect. Gone but never forgetton, as they say.

So, once again, another Virgen de Guadalupe day to commemorate and remember. It's been twenty-one years without Daddy as i first knew and loved him. But our relationship is stronger than ever, existing on another, more ethereal and spiritual, plane, which sometimes manifests in the most mysterious and miraculous ways. I'll leave those details and explanations for a future date.

Rest in eternal peace, Daddy. And thank you for the gentle surprises and welcomed gifts that you continue to bestow upon me. I love you forever.

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